Posts for February 2013
2 Posts found

Colossians 2.3-10 – True knowledge and false.
Posted: 6 February 2013 in Colossians

In whom [Christ] are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

Elsewhere Paul sums up this passage with the sentence, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Cor 3.19). The only wisdom worthy of the name is to know God and to obey him. There is nothing substantive which the world can add to that knowledge of God which is to be got exclusively from the divinely inspired scriptures. Everything purporting to be a true statement concerning God must be measured against that standard, and it must be rejected if it cannot reasonably be inferred from the scriptures. Even if some way out speculation should, by pure chance, have some baring upon the truth, and of course we could never know that it did, it would not be part of that body of knowledge which the Lord has revealed to us, We would have no business prying into the secret things of God, which he has reserved unto himself.

It is very easy to imagine atheists snorting at the very idea that any knowledge of God can come only from him, but even people professing themselves to be Christians can today be found preferring their own ideas to the Bible’s teaching. Those ideas are often so far off the scale of Christian orthodoxy that they can only be called heretical. Denying the doctrine of the Trinity is one increasingly common example. Ours seems to be the age of designer religion, where it matters little what the truth is, and the only thing which does matter is whether or not something makes me feel good, or whether or not I find it agreeable.

That there is a God who promises judgment at the end of time, with the promise of heaven for some, and the threat of hell for others, might not be an idea congenial to this present age, where even some Christians want to do their own thing and have their own DIY theology. But if we accept that there is a God who judges according to his own standards, and not ours, we will have a knowledge of the one true God, and, when it finds a humble heart and listening ear, the Holy Spirit will be able to increase our knowledge.

Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. (Psalm 25.5)

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Mark 7.24-27 and Acts 13.46 – Salvation is of the Jews
Posted: 5 February 2013 in Acts, Mark

“And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid. For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet: The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter. But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.”

“Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.”

The above passages is a theme which recurs on at least four occasions in the New Testament – namely that salvation must first of all be offered to the Jews, and only after they had failed to recognise their Messiah might it be offered to the Gentiles. A similar thought is to be found in Romans 11. Mark, when he wrote his gospel, was writing primarily for a Gentile audience, but even so he clearly felt unable to supress a saying of Jesus that might have put Gentile noses out of joint. If nothing else, this consistency testifies against the often heard claim that the Bible contradicts itself.

An incautious reader might find in these passages the suggestion that God had first chosen a people to worship and serve him (ancient Israel), and only after they had failed to fulfill the commission given them did he had to turn th the Gentiles in desperation. And that, of course, would be nonsense. Nothing comes as a surprise to God and his plans never fail. So the failure of most Jews to recognise Jesus as their Messiah, and SWon of God, must have been part of his plan since before the beginning of time. Not that the Gentiles did much better, as the riot at Ephesus, instigated by the worshippers of a pagan god, testifies (Acts 19.23ff). They too were blinded by original sin.

It could be asked why it was necessary for the Jews first to fail in their vocation, and only then could salvation come to the Gentiles. There is no clear answer to that. Possibly the number of people chosen for salvation needed (in some sense) to have their number made up following the Jews’ failure.

The title of this post is another quote from Jesus (John 4.22). Much about God’s working must remain mysterious to us, and we can know only that which he reveals to us, but accepting what the Bible has to say about the primary role of Jews in God’s plan of salvation must, for us Gentiles, be an exercise in humility.

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